With temperatures dropping below the freezing mark, the Animal Care Network has prepared a list to help pet owners keep their furry friend safe.
*If you know anyone who keeps pets outdoors, persuade them to bring them inside.
*Low temperatures, winds and precipitation can lead to illness, hypothermia and death.
*Water bowls freeze in cold weather.
*Dogs and cats can suffer from frostbite in a matter of minutes, mainly on feet, ears and tails.
*Local laws require that if dogs are kept outdoors, the owner must supply the dog with "proper" shelter
*If kept outside, use a doghouse that is not oversized, since the dog needs to retain body heat
*Put a wind flap on the dog house door
*Plenty of dry straw and access to fresh, unfrozen water.
*Snow is not sufficient to hydrate animals.
*Doghouses must be elevated off the ground so they don't freeze on the bottom.
*If animals must be kept outside, fill doghouses with clean dry straw and face away from wind
*Blankets and towels only freeze when used in a doghouse
*Double up on food intake during cold weather, extra weight keeps them warmer
*If you see a dog or cat in need of a help, become that animal's advocate. Speak with the owner, and if that fails to improve the situation, contact your local animal shelter, humane society or animal control office.
*If you see dogs or cats wandering the streets, contact local authorities
* Please keep cats inside. Felines who spend time outside can freeze, or get lost or injured
Symptoms and Signs
The main sign of mild hypothermia in dogs in excessive shivering. Dogs shiver in order to produce body heat, thus, continuous shivering may mean the dog's body temperature is too cold. A dog with hypothermia will also breath abnormally slow and breathing patterns will become very shallow. The dog's heart rate will slow considerably and because of muscle stiffness, the dog may become clumsy, losing all coordination. Dogs may also appear lethargic.
Moderate to severe hypothermia occurs when the dog's temperature falls below 95 degrees. In some cases, the dog's eyes may become very dilated and fixed, and their gums may turn very pale or bluefish in color. In extreme cases, the dog may collapse and/or enter into a coma.
Immediate treatment of hypothermia is crucial. If a dog is not treated in the appropriate time period, its temperature may become so low that it cannot be restored to normal levels, making it fatal. Take the dog immediately to a veterinarian if you suspect he has severe hypothermia or warming methods do not seem to be helping the dog.
You can learn more by contacting the Animal Care Network at (248) 678-2756 or by visiting its website at: mi-aan.org